and Maintenance Digest
June 14, 2007: Setting Up
Between work, family commitments, and other distractions, it
took me a week after launching to find the time to get back
and install the sails and make other preparations to the
boat. But after remaining pretty overcast and cool all
day long, by mid-afternoon the sun was shining, and I was
happy to leave work just a little early so that I could
drive to the boat for a few enjoyable hours.
It was a
beautiful afternoon and evening in Rockland, with
light-to-nonexistent winds and pleasant temperatures in the
high 60s. Since I had brought the dinghy home with me
after last week's launching, I launched the dinghy at the
ramp at Ocean Pursuits and then parked my truck in the
locked parking lot. I rowed out to the boat prepared
to install the sails and final rigging bits.
jib was a snap, as usual; I even managed to remember to load
the furling line on the drum in the proper direction this
time (I often roll it the wrong way first, causing the sail
to roll inside out). Then, I moved on to the mainsail.
I puzzled for some time over the outhaul setup, as I
couldn't at first quite remember how I had set up the
various parts 2 years ago. Eventually, I ignored this
problem for the moment and simply worked on getting the
battens installed, the outhaul slide in place, and the sail
slides in the mast track. Fortunately, I had my
well-marked and well cared-for special batten installation
tool, without which it's impossible to install the batten
retainers at the leech.
It's awful how
missing one season causes one to realize that the
last time this was done was actually two years ago,
in May 2005. No wonder I felt a little rusty.
I ran the
reefing lines to the first and second reefs, installed the
cunningham, and then figured out how the outhaul was
supposed to work and finished rigging that line. I
installed the lazy jacks, and flaked and covered the main.
It was such a beautiful evening that I was tempted to try
for a short sail, but there really was no wind anyway.
I stowed the
sail bags and other unneeded gear, and then approached one of
my least favorite springtime jobs: attaching the wires
from the mast lights and instruments to the terminal blocks
in the head. This is an annoying chore because the
space is tight, the marks on the wires always fade away
after a winter (and particularly after two years), and I
particularly dislike hooking up the teeny-tiny wind
instrument wires into the teeny-tiny terminal block that
came with them. I'd do these differently next time
(and maybe I'll change them someday). In any event, I
got the wires attached and it wasn't really that bad, but I
was glad to have it behind me.
With that, the
boat was ready for her first sail.
June 16, 2006:
we had a summerlike weekend on our hands--and no
commitments! We left the house at 0900 to head for the
boat. After a quick stop for some basic
supplies--drinks and snacks--we arrived at the boatyard,
loaded gear into the dinghy, and, after I spent quite a few
minutes trying to get my little outboard to run smoothly
after its long hiatus, we headed out to the boat.
There was no wind, but it was simply beautiful, and nice to
be on the boat.
While we waited for some wind
to come up--the forecast was for light and variable, then
becoming southeast and remaining fairly light--I stowed some
of the new gear and took care of a couple small projects,
like installing fresh batteries in the two ship's clocks.
Presently, a light breeze ruffled the waters, and after a
time I decided we should give it a go. We sailed
smoothly out of the wide harbor, passing the Triton
Northwind on her nearby mooring on the way, and successfully
avoiding being gobbled up alive by the evil Vinalhaven ferry
as we sailed past the breakwater. These diabolical
ferries trail in their wakes an ill wind, and are known (at
least in the frightening inner depths of my strange mind)
for opening their gaping maws and swallowing unsuspecting
boats alive, leaving ne'r a trace. Fortunately I'm
wise to their game and have carefully studied stealth and
avoidance tactics. Today, thanks to judicious
strategy, we managed to escape unscathed.
The wind built to an excellent and perfect 12-ish knots
apparent, where it stayed most of the day, though in one
brief period we saw 18 knots apparent. This wind speed
is perfect: boats are able to achieve hull speed
without battling chop, spray, and fighting sails and rails
awash. It was so pleasant that we just sailed
aimlessly in the general direction of the Azores, or roughly
southeast; we could have sailed in this way for hours.
The bay was wide open, unpopulated, and beautiful. I
couldn't even believe that we were daysailing in
Penobscot Bay. After 30 years in Casco Bay, which is
excellent and beautiful in its own right, I admit to
becoming a bit bored with the scenery there, and the move
down the coast provided a welcome change--as well as the
tantalizing prospect of so many outstanding cruising spots
within a 2-hour sail of our home port.
Anyway, extols aside, I
eventually decided that we should tack towards shore
and sail through Fisherman Island Passages and up Owl's Head
Bay and back to Rockland. The wind was light and dead
behind as we sailed through inside of Monroe Island, and the
tide was against us, but it was still fun...other than
fighting to keep the jib full wing on wing.
Back at the breakwater, we
dodged the packs of hungry, stalking ferries and made it
back safely to our mooring, wrapping up an outstanding 15+
mile sail. Frankly, it'll be hard to beat this day's
sail, but we'll spend the rest of the summer trying.
June 21-24, 2007: Solstice
June 29, 2007: Relaxing and
With a beautiful afternoon on hand, I played hooky and
headed to the boat around 1430. When I got there,
though, I discovered that the morning's offshore breeze was
fighting, as it sometimes does, with the onshore seabreeze
that was trying to get its engine going; as a result, there
was virtually no wind, and what there was was boxing the
compass. Therefore, I decided to relax and wait to see
what the wind did before trying to head out. I enjoyed
a late lunch in the cockpit and did a few small projects on
board, but the wind never materialized, sadly, so
eventually, after several hours, I headed in. The
seabreeze did attempt to fill in just as I was heading in,
but it was feeble and I knew it'd never get a foothold.
I made a change in my
dinghy choice for the "commute" to the boat. While I
love the Fatty Knees for cruising and most things, rowing
back and forth, particularly multiple times with stores and
supplies, gets old. I happened to have an old
inflatable dinghy that was my dad's years ago; this old
"Seaworthy" brand dinghy soldiers on. I also have the
5hp Nissan outboard that came with it, and I decided for
mooring commuting that this rig would be a better choice, so
after a couple days' preparatory work at home, including
testing the engine and renewing the dinghy painter, one of
the other chores I accomplished was to launch and prepare
this dinghy. I took the Fatty Knees home to await